Vladimira’s Bulgarian Stuffed Peppers

This is a traditional recipe for Bulgarian Stuffed peppers. The recipe for this dish can vary, sometimes it is cooked with minced veal, sometimes with a mix of veal and pork and sometimes it is cooked with just vegetables. This recipe however, is certainly an authentic version of the famous Bulgarian national dish as it was cooked by my lovely Bulgarian friend Vladimira, who was kind enough to teach me how to cook this dish and share her family’s secret recipe. A wonderful evening meal to have with family and friends! Bon appetit or as they would say in Bulgarian dobar apetit!

A deep sauce pan and an oven proof dish

Ingredients Serves 4:
1.  8 large red bell peppers, stalks removed and deseeded
2.  2 tbsp of sunflower oil
3.  3 cloves garlic, grated or crushed
4.  1 onion, finely chopped
5.  1 large carrot, peeled and diced in small cubes
6.  A handful of chopped parsley
7.  500g minced meat (500g minced veal or a mix of 250g minced veal and 250g of minced pork)
8.  1 cup of long grain rice, rinsed on cold water a few times
9.  2 medium size tomatoes chopped into small pieces
10. 2 cubes of chicken stock or 500ml chicken stock
11. A pinch of ground black pepper
12. 2 tbsp of plain flour
13. 1 cup of Greek yoghurt
14. 2 egg yolks, beaten

The Stuffed Peppers:
1.  Preheat oven to 200°C.
2.  Meanwhile, on a large sauce pan over high heat with the oil in, add the chicken stock and stir it until it dissolves in the oil, add your garlic, onions, carrots and parsley; sauté for 2-3 minutes then add your minced beef. Brown the meat for 5 minutes.

3.  Stir in your rice and let it cook for 1-2 minutes, and then add your tomatoes. Simmer for 10 minutes or until the water is absorbed by the rice.

4.  Season with a pinch of salt and pepper and set aside.
5.  Stuff the peppers with your rice, vegetable and meat mixture. Dust with some flour to seal them and finally place them on an oven proof dish. Pour over the chicken stock of 500 ml.

6.  Bake in the oven for 40-50 minutes or until the peppers have slight blackened. (as per the picture below)

7.  When the peppers are cooked and slightly blackened, removed the peppers from the oven. Drain the excess liquid off in a frying pan and put over medium heat, stir in your egg yolks and yoghurt, stir and cook for 2-3 minutes until sauce has slightly thickened. Remove from heat and pour the sauce back into the peppers.

Serve immediately with a bowl of yogurt.